[Pharmwaste] RE: Sheriff's program gives drugs the drop

Volkman, Jennifer (MPCA) Jennifer.Volkman at state.mn.us
Thu Jan 6 16:47:11 EST 2011

That is a problem for any permanent or event collection anywhere. I've seen it at both. I would put it at 2%. Maybe that is even high. I think most of our bins at Sheriff's offices are inside and that doesn't stop pharmacies or clinics from tipping in small amounts. How do you categorize a public health nurse that might bring in expired meds from a home they visit...Anyone starting a program will have to assume they will receive some business pharms, but I really think it is a minor issue.  We are going through the process of educating and licensing our pharmacies and clinics in MN for pharm waste generation. I don't know if that means we'll have more or less of them using that option.

The numbers from LA's pharm collection program (1,200 lbs in a year in LA?!!) don't seem to indicate much non-HH disposal. What do you other collectors think? Hennepin County collected more than that in a day at the "not so widely advertised" 9/25 event. I am in the process of gathering numbers from our sites, so I don't have a comparison yet, but I bet they each collected more than that. As with any kind of program anywhere, you'll have that small percentage of people that will take advantage, but that shouldn't be a deterrant from collecting.

The sharps numbers don't seem really high either. If a diabetic has to inject once a day, 60,000 needles = 164 people. Most clinics are set up for automatic sharp service. I really can't see them going through the extra effort to empty their bins and haul them somewhere. (but I tend toward naive) We encounter people here in MN who have saved up needles for as long as they've generated them while waiting for a better disposal option than the trash. Now I'm curious and will have to check with the HH Programs that collect sharps to see if they have numbers. I really like the idea of collecting both. But I prefer that the manufacturers set up and pay for it! Isn't it crazy, really, that law enforcement is paying for collection and disposal of sharps and pharms?

From: pharmwaste-bounces at lists.dep.state.fl.us [pharmwaste-bounces at lists.dep.state.fl.us] On Behalf Of Lucy, Burke [Burke.Lucy at CalRecycle.ca.gov]
Sent: Thursday, January 06, 2011 2:33 PM
To: pharmwaste at lists.dep.state.fl.us
Subject: [Pharmwaste] Sheriff's program gives drugs the drop

Here’s one problem with law enforcement collecting drugs…

Sheriff's program gives drugs the drop

“…the program has proven so popular that it's forced sheriff's officials to outsource disposal to another department, and has prompted suspicions that medical clinics — not private residents for whom the program was intended — are taking advantage of the free service.  The Safe Drug Drop-Off program allows residents to anonymously dispose of drug-related waste in modified mailbox containers that stand outside 20 sheriff's department stations throughout the county…More than 13,500 pounds of prescription and over-the-counter medications were collected last year at the various stations…”

I think law enforcement stations tend to place their collection bins outside or in lobbies whereas other types of programs tend to keep them inside.  I’ve only heard of the problem of medical clinics potentially using the drop boxes from a few law enforcement program managers.

Mr. Burke Lucy
Integrated Waste Management Specialist
Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle)
1001 I Street, PO Box 4025
Sacramento, CA 95812
Burke.Lucy at CalRecycle.ca.gov
916.341.6592 (recently changed)

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